Reflection is about interpreting own suppositions (and practices), by looking at own perspectives from those of others, and by subjecting own assumptions to critical review (Alvesson & Sköldberg, 2000, paraphrased). It should be evident that reflective research involves at least two levels, namely researching and paying much attention to own theoretical suppositions about practices—"careful interpretation and reflection" (p. 5)—often interpretation is scant and occurs after data collection and categorisation in the research process; whereas reflection is seldom mentioned and usually limited to conclusions, limitations of the study and technical matters.
Reflection is firstly aimed at a heightened awareness of theoretical suppositions, of language and of pre-understanding; but secondly aimed at the innermost of practitioners, of narrative and of the context. Reflective research is about systematic reflection on numerous levels—an "interpretation of interpretation" (p. 6). The process of reflective research comprises the (re)construction of reality in which practitioners perform, critically interpreting and reflecting.
Reflection involves thinking about the prevailing conditions and the way in which underlying theory, cultural values and political perspectives impacts on interaction. "Reflection is difficult" (p. 245), because it requires pondering about premises of thoughts.
Alvesson, M. & Sköldberg, K. 2000. Reflexive Methodology—new vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage.